Specialist Divorce & Family Lawyer

Personal Protection & Domestic Exclusion

Definition of family violence?

The Court would grant a Personal Protection Order (PPO) to a family member for his/her protection if the following act of family violence has been committed / is likely to be committed against him/her:

  • Wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, a family member in fear of hurt;
  • Causing hurt to a family member by an act which is known or ought to have been known would result in hurt;
  • Wrongfully confining or restraining a family member against his/her will; and/or
  • Continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member.

The parents or guardian of child may make a PPO application on behalf of their children.

Expedited Order (EO)

You would be granted an Expedited Order (EO) in most case after an application is lodged. EO is a temporary and urgent order to protect the application from “imminent danger” against the aggressor pending the final outcome of the PPO application. This EO is granted without trial due to the urgency of immediate protection. The judge will decide whether you have a prima facie case of violence against you when you affirm or swear on your application. The judge may throw your case out right from the start if the complaint has no substance or “no case”.

The EO is valid for 28 days from the date of the issuance. Upon the expiry, there has to be an application to renew the EO for another 28 days. The EO is no longer useful once the PPO Order is granted by consent after a mediation or obtained by way of a full-blown trial.

Domestic Exclusion Order (DEO)

In supplement to PPO and EO, when the aggressor resides in the same premises as the victim, the Complainant may consider applying for a Domestic Exclusion Order (DEO) to exclude the aggressor from entering into the family home or that he/she be restrained to a part of the house; or that the aggressor be excluded from entering certain radius of a public place near to the victim

A DEO application must be made together or after a PPO application has been made.

Protection from Harassment (POHA)

POHA is applied in the States Court, and not in the Family Justice Courts.

POHA is protection order against harassment and other unpleasant conduct against another person like verbal abuse and threatening demeanour, not necessary against a family member. For instance, your spouse changes the lock to the main door of the house once every 2 days to prevent you from entering; or your spouse stalk you at your office area. You may apply for PPO and POHA against your spouse.

POHA can be applied for against both family and non-family members whereas PPO is only against family members. To prevent multiple duplicate applications to courts, you may wish to seek legal advice on the best options to take.

How to apply for PPO?

The complaint form can be obtained from Family Justice Court (Protection Unit) located on level one (1) or it can be downloaded from ifams.gov.sg with your SingPass.

Step 1- You may prepare your complaint form prior to attending the court to make formal application for PPO. In the complaint form, you will be asked whether you have medical reports or police reports to support your application.

Step 2- Upon the submission of your application, if the PPO judge is satisfied that there is a prima facie case of family violence, the judge will issue an EO to you. A summons will be issued to the aggressor by sending a notice to him/her personally to attend court to answer to the charge.

Step 3- The PPO court will issue a mention date for parties to attend. During the mention, a court officer will read the content of your complaint to the aggressor who is referred to as the ‘Respondent’. The Respondent may agree or not agree with your complaint. If agree, you will have your PPO order issued immediately without trial; if disagree, the matter will proceed to mediation with a court counsellor or be directed for trial. The mention Judge will most likely ask parties whether they have any intention to engage a lawyer.

Absence from Court

If the applicant fails to attend court, the mention Judge will strike out your application.

If the Respondent is absent from court, the court may issue a Warrant of Arrest against the Respondent to attend court to answer for his absence.

Until this stage, matters may be complicated for most people. If the violence alleged is true, and that you truly fear for your safety from a family member, you may have to persist in the application until you obtain a PPO order. Speak to a Yeolaw specialist Family Lawyer with expert experience in PPO trials at 62203400 or send us an online request form for an appointment.

Step 4- if the matter proceeds for trial, the mention Judge will direct that the following documents be filed before a trial date would be fixed : –

  • Affidavit-of-Evidence in Chief
  • Reply to Affidavit-of-Evidence-Chief
  • Witnesses’ Affidavits
  • Translation and transcript of audio or video records
  • Opening statement
  • Submission on law and facts (further submissions or affidavit if required by trial judge)
  • Closing statement

During the PPO trial, it is considered a quasi-criminal trial where the the criminal standard is to proof the case beyond a reasonable doubt. It means that:

the Respondent is innocent until proven guilty and that no other reasonable explanation can be derived from the facts except that the Respondent committed the personal violence

This is a high standard of proof and parties are subjected to grueling cross-examination by the opposing lawyers.

The Trial Judge will then determine an outcome to the application with the evidence before him/her.

You may win or lose your trial. If you lose, you may have to pay costs to the Respondent.

The duration to obtain a PPO?

If the Respondent consents to your PPO application, the order will be obtained on the day of the first mention.

If the matter proceeds for a PPO trial, the process lasts between four (4) to eight (8) months, or longer depending on how many witnesses, the complexity of the case and gathering of evidence to support your case.

What if the PPO is breached?

With a PPO Order, it means that the Police now have the jurisdiction to step in to investigate a family violence complaint when you report a matter to the police (whereas prior to the obtaining of a PPO, save for cases involving actual/serious cases of injury, the Police would not interfere with private family matters).

If you find yourself on the receiving end of such unfortunate violent conduct, you may consider the following:

  • Reporting the matter to the police;
  • File a Magistrate’s Complaint for breach of the PPO at the Crime Registry of the State Courts; or
  • File a claim at the State Courts under the Protection from Harassment Act (“POHA”).

The penalty for breaching PPO orders is: –

  • held in police custody for 48 hours;
  • Jail
  • Fine

Do I need to engage lawyer for PPO?

As in any court cases, you may choose to represent yourself. However, having an expert PPO lawyer right from the start can assist you in drafting the charge sheet to ensure accuracy in the facts and save you the trouble of navigating the complex court system and law.

Certain times when the charge sheet is not drafted correctly or that you may have included certain disadvantageous statements, the aggressor may use the loopholes in your own writings to counter you.

Lawyers at Yeo & Associates LLC are well equipped to advise you and to best protect you at a fixed fee. When the matter goes for trial, we offer Capped Fees Package. Call us at 62203400 to understand your options.


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